Ephrata man focuses on climate change debate

By on December 25, 2013

Jim Sandoe, who recently discussed climate change at an EPA conference, is also starting a new project for Organizing for Action called “Solar Raising,” which helps local businesses and non-profits install solar panels.

Jim Sandoe, who recently discussed climate change at an EPA conference, is also starting a new project for Organizing for Action called “Solar Raising,” which helps local businesses and non-profits install solar panels.

Climate change – a reality or myth? Ephrata resident and Climate Reality Project leader Jim Sandoe says it’s definitely true.

“Scientists and government bodies all over the world have checked the data and agree that our climate is definitely warming,” Sandoe said.

He said that after the first of four back surgeries in May 2011, he retired and began to read more about climate change. Several years prior he became politically active and volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008 and again in 2012. He said that after the 2012 campaign the campaign group re-formed as Organizing for Action, a group that focuses on issues.

“Climate change has been a passion of mine for a while, and I was asked to serve the organization in that area,” Sandoe said. “What I’m trying to do is help educate people,” he said.

Sandoe attended the three-day Climate Reality Project’s Leadership Corps Training in Chicago this summer to learn more about this issue. The seminar was led in part by former vice president Al Gore and featured some of the world’s leading climate scientists, media and communications experts. Sandoe not only attended a seven-hour seminar chaired by Gore, but he met him later that night.

“I came away with a much greater perspective on climate change-it was in-depth and put a sharp focus on the issue,” Sandoe said.

He stated that carbon dioxide (C02) is not the largest greenhouse gas, but it is the most deadly. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere now measures 400 parts per million (ppm); at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, CO2 measured 280 ppm. Sandoe reported that climate experts would like to see a CO2 at 350 ppm.

He said that the effects can be felt locally.

“This corner of the state (south central Pennsylvania) is one of the most polluted areas in the state with regard to air quality,” Sandoe said. “It’s not necessarily caused by what we do here, but the prevailing wind is from the west, so we get the smog from Pittsburgh and the residue from the coal mines in West Virginia,” he explained, “When the wildfires broke out in Colorado earlier this fall – the smoke and airborne particles were in our area in three days.”

He added that these pollutants affect health issues such as asthma.

Not only did the training broaden his knowledge, but Sandoe’s now Facebook friends with 300 to 400 people who attended the seminar.

“It really helps me get a global perspective-things including evidence of climate change just don’t happen only in the US,” Sandoe said. “It’s worldwide.”

Not only did he attend the leadership event in Chicago, but in November Sandoe also attended Michael Mann’s presentation at Millersville University and spoke before at an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) session in Philadelphia.

Mann, a professor of meteorology at Penn State University and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, presented the Brossman-Frisbie Science Lecture at Millersville on November 7. His discussion topic was entitled “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.” Mann and colleagues created the Hockey Stick, an easy to understand graph to depict changes in Earth’s temperature back to 1000 AD. His presentation discussed the story behind the hockey stick and attempted to cut through the fog of disinformation that has been generated to deny the reality of climate change.

“I’ve been familiar with his work for a long time, and it was great to hear his discussion,” Sandoe said.

However the evening did present a challenge-James Hansen, the former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies whose testimony on climate change before congressional committees in the 1980s, which helped raise broad awareness of global warming, was speaking at Dickinson College that same evening.

“I really wanted to be at both lectures, both gentlemen have such a great perspective,” Sandoe said. “We’re really fortunate to have had them in the area-any time you can get someone who is so well known on the world stage to come here is a ‘win’.”

Sandoe’s presentation before the EPA was also a memorable experience for him.

“The meeting was one of 11 being held throughout the county to solicit public comment on a proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants. I had three minutes to speak,” Sandoe said, “and they’re rather strict about that time as well as allowing only comments on the topic they’ve convened the meeting for.”

In his comments to the EPA he said, “Coming to realize just how dire this crisis is has been a very painful journey for me. I am a volunteer with the Climate Reality Project. The more I learn, the more I want to stop everyone I see on the street and tell them that this is the crisis of our lifetimes, not for some future generation. It is happening now. To convince others to wake up, to act, to write their Congressman and demand action be taken immediately is my goal for the rest of my life.”

He said that carbon is the major source of global warming in our atmosphere and urged the EPA to tax carbon “polluters” to help curb climate change. He noted that if that should occur, the US would join 40 other countries that already have similar regulations in place.

“Even China understands what this crisis means,” Sandoe said. “They have a pilot carbon policy program in place that they will expand to the rest of the country by 2015.”

He also advised the EPA to not only “secure alternative energy sources” but to also “draw the carbon out of our atmosphere to avoid further degradation of our overall climate, water, and soil systems”.

Sandoe said that his goal is to help educate people about the reality of climate change. He is available to speak to groups on this issue and has created an hour-long PowerPoint presentation. Anyone interested in scheduling a presentation may contact him at 738-2980.

About ephratareview

One Comment

  1. renewableguy

    January 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I am proud to be of the same class as Mr. Sandoe. Best of luck to him in his messaging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *